Create Your Own Pet Food Recall Notifications

It's scary to think that almost every day there's a recall out for one type of pet food or another. The Pet Food Recalls of 2007 were particularly troublesome and brought to light the many brands that offshore their production to facilities in China that have insufficient safety controls.

Since forewarned is forearmed, we wanted to share a quick and easy way that you can stay ahead of game and get notifications as quickly as they occur with Google Alerts. What you get are notifications in your email inbox with the latest pet food recall notifications from across the Internet. The hope is that you can configure alerts to let you know when pet food recalls are in affect and get notified immediately.

How can you set yourself up to receive timely notifications of pet food recalls?

  1. The first thing you'll need is a Google Mail account. If you have an account, sign-in. If you don't, get one. It's easy and free.
  2. Next, surf on over to Google Alerts
  3. Once there, you'll be able to put in keywords to create an alert. In the example, below you can see that I've used "pet food recall" (without the quotes) in the Search query field to accomplish this.
  4. Adjust the How often setting to the frequency of how often that you''d like to be notified. Once a day or Once a week, are good starting points, but if that proves too much you can dial that back. Should you choose to go with As-it-happens, you may find that the notifications that you get (all via email) can be overwhelming. We recommend that you start with Once a day. We find that this will trigger a new alert every couple of days. 
  5. That's it. The rest of the settings I leave as-is. I always leave the How many field as Only the best results, and that provides all the results I've ever needed.
Here's what our Google Alert for Pet Food Recalls looks like. Note that you get to look at what the email will look like on the right hand side of the display:

Simple Pet Food Recall Notifications by Google Alerts


Why create a pet food recall?

The purpose of keeping an eye on the products that are being recalled is not to create a panic, but to have the knowledge to make the best decision for your pet on a timely basis. Like any information, it depends upon individuals and companies reporting recalls, so it's not perfect, but it is a useful tool that you should consider.

These quick pet food recall notifications allow me to put a quick eye on my email alerts in the morning and have piece of mind the rest of the day that the food (and treats) I'm feeding my dog haven't been recalled.

We recommend that you review those recalls that are coming in before making any decisions about any changes you decide to make for you dog's diet.  As Google Alerts searches through the text of web pages, false positives can appear. For example, when a web page is referring to a past instance where a particular company's pet food had to be recalled, this may show up in your alert as well, although it may not apply to you or your senior dog. 

Double-Time At the Vet: When It's Time to Increase Your Dog's Check Ups

The day will come when your dog's muzzle grows more and more grey; when you notice that she is not getting along like she did in their younger days. We already talked about this a while back, but this is both a reminder and an introduction to another benefit of visiting your veterinarian more often: talking with them about the best preventative medicine.

The symptoms of many ailments can be mitigated if you catch them early enough.

Common canine joint issues

Arthirits and hip dysplasia are two issues that I've come up against several times. Getting on a diet and choosing supplements that reduce inflammation helped enormously in my dog's case. We also received tips on walking on inclines and declines, instead of the more severe stairs, in order to maintain as much muscle mass as possible. Muscle loss was one of the related concerns that my vet brought to my attention. As a dog gets older, it's going to lose muscle mass. The goal is to maintain a level of exercise that isn't painful to the dog, but still keeps them active.

Skin diseases in senior dogs

Diseases that younger dogs can more easily fight off are a concern as well. Dog's whose immune systems are degrading are more susceptible to more severe forms of common health issues that they would have more easily fought off in their youth. Skin diseases, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria are usually treatable if caught early enough. It may be that you'll need to head to a specialist to address these, however they should be able to give you some tricks on how to mitigate these itchy situations. Domboro Solution, a common poison ivy treatment for people that is available in your drugstore's first aid aisle, was just what the doctor ordered to dry up a rash caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria after the proper drugs were find to fight this illness.

Early canine cancer detection

Cancer is another area where early detection can help. More and more people that I'm in contact are having their dogs treated for cancer instead of treating it as a death sentence.

The point is that looking up how to treat illnesses on the web or talking with your friends may give you a little information or even help you commiserate over the situation, but your best bet when it comes to dealing with canine health issues is to have an open line to your vet. This allows you to work together to maintain your dog's quality of life for many years to come.

Don't take my word for it, make an appointment for a check-up and chat with your veterinarian today.

Bark Out Loud Because Happy Wagging Tails Are for Furever

Tinkerbell, a senior mastiff mixed breed dog found her forever home

James Bond might tell you Diamonds are Forever, but not my friend Tinkerbell, who found her forever (dare I say, furever) home just a few weeks ago. Happily she gets to spend her days hang out with her new family on a sizable piece of property.

For Charlie, the fourth time is a charm. Adopted and loving it.Just because their whiskers are grey doesn't mean they don't have a lot of love to give. 

Speaking of happy endings, our friend Charlie has at long last found his forever home. After a few false starts and an extended stay in a kennel, Charlie met his new foster dad who decided after three days that Charlie needed to be his forever. Charlie gave me a big hug the last time I saw him to help finalize his adoption paperwork, but was perfectly content to remain lounging around when I left. He's more comfortable and secure than he's ever been in his life and is even making strides in socializing with big dogs. I'm so very happy that Charlie finally found someone who recognized how much love he has to give and who knows how to give it back to him.

What's In that Dog - Using Wisdom Panel to Identify Your Dog's Breed Makeup

Wisdom Panel helps you identify the ancestry of your dog
I frequently get asked what breed of dog I have. I don't really know since Rusty was a refugee from a shelter when he came to live with me two years ago.

I had been sticking with calling him a Shepherd/Akita mix based upon his looks and temperament, however the more research that I do on dogs and breed specific health issues, the more I wanted to know if I should be concerned.

Enter the Wisdom Panel.

What is the Wisdom Panel and how do you get started?

The Wisdom Panel is is a simple DNA test that you can administer at home and send into a lab to analyze. The kit comes with a couple of swabs to rub on the inside of your dog's mouth and a pre-paid mailer. Two to three weeks after the lab's receipt of receiving the package you are emailed with a link to get the Insight report, along with the option to upload a picture.

How does Wisdom Panel identify your dog's breed(s)?

According to their literature, the Wisdom Panel uses 300 DNA markers which are analyzed against some 11 million calculations to give an overview of your dog's background going back to their great grandparents.

I went with the Mixed Breed version of the test to determine "What makes up a Rusty Dog?" and found that on one side of his family he has German Shepherd and English Springer Spaniel (the latter being a surprise), while on the other side he has some Chow Chow. I also received a list of breeds that might be included as well, but weren't as prevalent. Overall, given the high indicators of mixed breed parents throughout his history, Rusty is probably less susceptible to breed specific issues caused by breeders over breeding within the same family to get particular traits.

It doesn't matter to me what kind of dog Rusty turned out to be, but it was an interesting exercise. I'd recommend it to people interested in their dog's background or want to confirm breed specific traits and potential ailments that come with them.

Looking for more great details about dog DNA tests?  


Having the Strength to Do the Right Thing: The Emotional Side of Putting Your Dog to Sleep

Boo Boo, my senior dog, resting on the porch
Boo Boo resting on the porch

Eventually all good things must come to an end.

Old muscles are too tired. Joints are worn.

We've reached the limit of the total number of heartbeats that we've been allotted in this life.

It's as much that way for us as it is four our four-legged companions.

Why is it important important to be thoughtful when considering euthanasia for your canine friend?

As owners of older dogs we need to be considerate of our our four-legged friends. Sometimes this means being ready to do the right thing by helping them along on their final journey by having them put to sleep. Ask your veterinarian about what euthanasia options you have so that you're ready when the time comes.

This is an emotionally difficult time, so get in front of this scenario and understand that prolonging your dog's suffering because you're not ready to let go is not the way to go. Consider that after all is said and done, no one wants to think that they caused their beloved pet one extra hour of pain and misery if they could have prevented it.

Remembering better times with your dog and their destination: The Rainbow Bridge

Take heart and know that memories of walks, snuggling, and wet sloppy kisses at inappropriate times will always be with you.

The Rainbow Bridge (below) is a poem written by an unknown writer in the second half of the 20th century which paints a picture of how one day we'll be reunited with all of those furry companions that have given us so many years of love and faithfulness:

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...